LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - There will be a new MAAC Women's Soccer Champion in 2011. The Saints played to their third straight tie drawing Niagara 1-1 Sunday afternoon at Siena Turf Field. But the point earned was not enough as Siena was officially eliminated from MAAC Tournament contention.
With one game remaining, the Saints (7-6-3, 2-3-3) could with a win finish with 12 points which at the moment would put them in fourth place. But both Fairfield and Canisius, which are currently tied for fourth with 11 points, play each other next weekend. With at least one team assured of points in that match, that squad would move ahead of the Saints in the standings.
In a game that was eerily similar in numerous ways to the Saints' frustrating tie Friday vs. Canisius, Siena got on the board first in the 56th minute. Off a corner from the right of the goal, Lindsay Tegas served in a ball that caromed off a defender right to Coreena D'Alfonso. With the ball still in the air, D'Alfonso volleyed it into the goal for her first career tally.
But once again the lead would be short-lived. Just over eight minutes later Niagara (6-9-1, 4-2-1) would respond on Kayla Picanco's fifth goal of the season. Julianne Viviano sent in a pass from right to left just outside the box to Picanco who fired it home.
In what was a contentious game throughout, things would get a lot more interesting with 59 seconds remaining in regulation.
Ashleigh Barone beat Niagara keeper Gaberielle Wilson to a long ball down the right side. Wilson tripped up Barone who was injured on the play and a yellow card was issued to Wilson.
Caitlin Cahalan would enter and take the free kick just outside the box with a great chance to win it, but her shot sliced just inches over the crossbar. It was one of several near misses late in the game for the Saints which hit a crossbar and a post respectively in the second half.
Siena outshot Niagara 5-1 and held all the chances during the overtime periods, but could not cash in as the Saints played to their third straight tie after having not tied once in three years.
For the game, Siena out-shot the Purple Eagles 22-14 and took eight corners to Niagara's five. Barone took nine of the Saints' shots, while Cahalan attempted five.
Wilson made seven saves for Niagara, while freshman Taylor Booth, making her second consecutive start, stopped three shots for the Saints which are now winless in their last five games.
Siena concludes its 2011 campaign Saturday for Senior Day against Marist at 1 p.m. when the Saints will honor the most decorated class in program history.